6 Steps to Divorce in Colorado

There’s no denying that divorce can be overwhelming. That’s why a divorce lawyer will make things easier for you. But when you break down the process into a series of steps, it can be much easier to comprehend and deal with each part individually.

To help you understand the path to divorce in Colorado, we’ve created this step-by-step guide to show you what you’ll need to expect in the days ahead.

And of course, we’re always here to help if you have divorce related questions along the way.

Step 1: File Your Divorce Petition

The first thing on our to-do list is to file the petition for your divorce. This legal document includes essential information like your reason for divorce, statements about separate property, and whether there will be child custody arrangements.

Contrary to common belief, there is no advantage to the party filing the petition first. The only difference will be in how the request is worded, but both parties are given the same legal rights.

Once the petition is filed, the other spouse will be served with the paperwork. At this point, they have 91 days to file their response, or the court can issue a decree of dissolution. If you are the responder, it’s always a good idea to file a response unless you have no problem with the terms listed on the petition.

Step 2: Complete Financial Disclosures

The next step will be for both parties to provide the court with a full list of financials. This includes your income, assets, debts, expenses, and properties. Unfortunately, you can’t get around this step (even if you and your spouse are in full agreement from step 1), so it’s a good idea to make sure your finances are in order. This step is very important to protect your financial assets, especially in case of a property division.

Step 3: Attend your Initial Status Conference

Divorce does not happen in a day. Because it will take some time to get a final court date and work out the details, your next step will be attending an ISC (Initial Status Conference). This short meeting usually takes place within 40 days of the initial petition. It lays out the schedule for the rest of your divorce, including any temporary orders hearing. However, if both you and your spouse have legal counsel for your divorce, you can submit your own schedule instead and skip going to court. This is particularly useful if you are getting divorced during a pandemic and are required to social distancing.

Step 4: Attend Your Temporary Orders Hearing

If you and your ex are struggling with the terms of your divorce, a temporary orders hearing can be a good idea. This court meeting will define temporary terms for you and your spouse regarding issues such as child support and child custody, housing arrangements, and property rights.

These orders will only be in place until your divorce is finalized. Still, it can give you some peace of mind over the next several months of drafting up the permanent terms.

Step 5: Determine Your Settlement Course

When it comes to a divorce, courts emphasize settlement meetings over litigation, so you must try to settle your divorce peaceably before bringing your case before a judge. The most common settlement courses are mediation and negotiation.

A divorce mediation session is required before setting your final court date and typically takes 2-3 hours. You and your lawyer will be in one room while your spouse and his/her lawyer are in another. A neutral mediator will then communicate between the two rooms and try to work out terms that are fair and agreeable to both parties.

Mediation agreements are not binding, and you cannot be forced into accepting any of the terms. But if you can resolve your differences through mediation, your attorneys will use these agreements to draft up the final, binding documents.

If mediation doesn’t work, you’ll usually turn to negotiation, where your attorneys will typically communicate through phone calls and emails to work out the final agreement. You can even set up in-person meetings with your spouse and their lawyer if you can both do so calmly.

Step 6: Attend Your Final Orders Hearing

About 6-9 months after you filed your petition, you’ll be ready to attend your final orders hearing. If you and your spouse have been able to work out the divorce terms, this will not be a lengthy affair.

However, if you are still unable to agree on terms, this can take a full day in court where you and your spouse will be able to lay out your cases to the judge and call witnesses.

The judge will then give the final orders for your divorce, including permanent details about property, assets, child custody and support, and restraining orders.

Bonus Step 7: Your are divorced, relax!

Once the final orders hearing is over, your divorce is complete! Take some time to recover and relax before you dive into changing your name, your will, or any other details that require legal paperwork.

Closing Thoughts

Divorce will never be a carefree process, but you can make it a little easier by keeping yourself informed and planning for each step.

And remember, it’s always smart to ask questions, so don’t hesitate to reach out to our divorce attorneys anytime to get expert guidance to your questions. They’ll make your job a lot easier and reduce your stress in the process.